Viral Marketing Is Still Terrible: A Movie Is Using A Fake Tinder Profile At SXSW

As Andrew told you over the weekend, advertisers for a movie at SXSW (I’m not going to say which one, because f*ck them) used a fake Tinder profile to… uh… raise awareness? Annoy? Infuriate? …potential viewers of their movie. The Tinder profile was a 25-year-old named “Ava,” and apparently if you matched with her, she’d ask a series of cryptic questions before sending you to an Instagram profile.

Even at the end of her stupid “test,” she still doesn’t reveal that she’s an advertisement, she just sends him to her Instagram profile (do NOT go there). Which is great advertising for the film, because the best way to communicate the idea that your film isn’t a waste of time is to waste the sh*t out of people’s time. Hopefully on as many separate social media accounts as possible. “Ava, will you take this ring? I want to get #engaged to your #brand.”

AdWeek typically cheerleaded the whole stunt:

It’s pretty brilliant in the way it ties into the movie. Only in retrospect do you realize that Ava’s questions are about a robot wanting to know what it’s like to be human.

It’s also pretty invasive, and some will call it spammy. If you think about it, it’s only a step above Tinder’s porn bots. In this case, though, I’d give it a pass because it’s such a strong fit conceptually. She’s a bot in the movie, so of course she’s a bot on Tinder.

Wow, yeah, totally brilliant that an ad for a movie would tie into the movie. How did these geniuses manage such a thing? Did they have a team of researchers? A focus group? Did a NASA engineer write them an algorithm? I also enjoy the praise that compares it to porn bots. “Well sure, it’s an intrusive, spammy ad that exploits people earnestly looking for human connection and wastes a bunch of their time under false pretenses and ends with them being pissed about being duped, but prostitutes do it too.”

Hey, assholes, do you know the difference between you and a prostitute? A prostitute f*cks you. That’s an honest business. Also, most porn or prostitute Tinder profiles have the decency to put the link in the first text.

How long are we going to let these viral marketing and prankvertising A-holes invade our life-space while we cheer them on for their “creativity?” Every time I leave the grocery store I get people with clipboards acting like they’re just trying to start an innocuous conversation with me before they start in with their schpiel. They’re trying to short-circuit my natural reticence to be rude to a total stranger, and thanks to a few years of them hanging around, I’m now suspicious of anyone making casual conversation on the street. Can’t I have one sphere of my life where I can experience genuine human connections and spontaneity without being instantly cynical and suspicious about it? Can you please stop trying to chip away at my humanity one sh*tty prank at a time?

Look, advertising finances many of the things we love. Television, radio, magazines, this website. If it didn’t exist we might have a lot less cool sh*t (might). The clear difference between this Ava profile and other advertising (other than the fact that it’s duplicitously passing itself off as something other than an ad) is that they didn’t pay for anything. So now maybe that show you like or podcast you listen to has a few less dollars to pay its staff. Because some cool guy ad exec in a hoodie thought it’d be better to spend his time trolling LonelyBoyz at an interactive convention than springing for a TV spot. Nice.

You want an ad? PAY for it. Put it in a clearly-designated ad space. And to everyone else, stop acting like this sh*t is cool. Stop congratulating these intrusive assholes, stop asking “what is this an ad for?” when someone wastes your time and tricks you. Just skip it, and know that if it’s being advertised using viral marketing, it’s probably not worth knowing. In conclusion, f*ck whoever came up with this. I swipe my ass with this movie.